Q and A

May 30, 2009

I have an important Q and A update. I often get bogged down in a sea of email so I have enlisted my daughter as an assistant to sort my Q and A emails for me. She is going to be sorting through all the Q and A emails and copying the Q’s into a WORD document for me to answer and post. Because of this I’m asking you guys to please follow the following guidelines for future Q and A email.

If you have comments or other subjects you want me to read or address, put them in a separate email. My daughter will only be sorting email with Q and A on the subject line and after she copies and pastes the Q’s into my Word document, she will be deleting those email. It would also be great if you could type your questions in question from with the “Q: …..” like they appear below to make it easier for her.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you can make this easy for my daughter she will be able to make this easier for me, which should result in more frequent Q and A commentaries.

Q: Do wrestlers ever wear contact lenses in the ring? I would think they would pop out with all the bumps. And if they don't wear them, is a wrestler with vision impairment at a disadvantage or a danger in the ring?

A: A lot of guys work with contacts, Jericho for one. If their visions isn’t too bad obviously it wont’ matter much, it’s not like you need to read during a match. I’m pretty sure I could be legally blind and still find the Big Show in a 20X20 ring.

Q: If you could have had a front row seat to any former wrestling pay-per-view no matter the brand or era, which would it have been?

A: I think I would have liked to have been at WrestleMania III.

Q: Do you think that ECW will eventually become 2 hours? Do you like that there's now 8-9 hours of content now or do you think it's to spread out?

A: I hope it stays at one hour. That’s all it needs to be (they don’t’ need to build more than one angle or feud for PPV), so leave it at that. I don’t want more hours of wrestling to watch per week.

Q: Do you like when a Superstar crosses over to film and who do you think could be the next one to be successful at it?

A: I don’t care too much either way. I’m happy for the boys who succeed at what ever they try. I think Christian is one of the better actors in the business.

Q: I had a ton of hope in a resurgence of stables when Legacy peaked at 5 members. Do you think that they'll come back?

A: Not like they did in the past. I think the one thing that is missing with current stables is the manager mouth piece. When there is a managerial lead the faction comes off better in my opinion. Legacy to me is Randy Orton and his lackeys. When you look at the Territories with Heel stables there was usually a Manager at the forefront. It was a way to have a long on going feud with the top baby face, that didn’t get stale after the first series of matches. The Manager was the constant heel and the face ran through his stable of guys. Stampede had Abu Weasal. World Class had Skandar Akbar, WWF had Bobby Heenan, etc. I think Vince’s “Corporation” was a more modern day example. You had the villainous leader (Vince), out to destroy the Baby Face (Austin) and he hired his band of henchmen to do his bidding. The angle had tremendous heat and lasted a long time because you could have fresh matches because of a revolving door of henchmen. If Vince was a wrestler, Vince and Austin would have been the only MAIN drawing match and would have ran its course in 3-4 months. WWE needs to bring back managers to have an effective stable, in my opinion.

Q: I think your “Boring” gimmick was really a way for WWE creative to get fans to stop screaming “boring” during promos and matches, because doing so would be seen as a sign of support (or antagonism) for one Lance Storm. It’s kind of like bringing back ECW and then watering it down so that people will stop chanting “ECW” whenever something extreme happens on the main brands (and no one chants “ECW” anymore unless Tommy Dreamer is in the ring). Do you think this is possible or just speculation?

A: I don’t think you could be more wrong. The fact that I was telling fans to stop chanting boring only encouraged them. WWE wanted fan interaction and they thought boring chants for me could be similar to the “You Suck” chants Kurt Angle got.

Q: Is there a reason why wrestlers in the WWE aren’t really using finishers that we see in other feds (like the Best Moonsault Ever and the Cattle Mutilation)? Other than moves that would likely be banned (i.e. the Canadian Destroyer), should we expect developmental grads to be using some of these finishers or are there expectations that guys like Bryan Danielson and AJ Styles will end up in the WWE later on and management wants to respect their style/move set? (I’m glad we don’t see too many finishers being stolen all that often...well, regrettably the Styles Clash has been used in the WWE...)

A: The biggest thing with finishers is they need to be able to be hit on everyone, and there are a lot of REALLY big guys in WWE so that in itself limits you greatly on finishers. They also need to be very low risk because WWE does not want their talent getting hurt. If your finish is risky WWE won’t have their top draws taking them. As for submissions, unless you are a top guy getting a huge push you won’t be winning by submission enough to ever establish a submission finish. WWE isn’t going to tap their roster to get over a midcard guys finish.

Q: Some people claim that it is easier to be a heel and get heat than it is to be a baby face. I don’t buy it. Each requires a lot of thought, and it mainly seems to depend on your own personality, comfort, and creativity. What are your thoughts on this?

A: It’s easier to get people to boo you than it is to get them to cheer you, at least initially, so in that respect “they” are right. You don’t need any talent to get “cheap” heat, all you have to do is go out and be an ass to fans. It isn’t money drawing heat but anyone can call people fat and ugly and get booed. Making people care about you is much harder. That being said the job of being a heel (the actual work portion) is actually much more demanding than that of the face. In addition to that at the top level where everyone is talented, and the crowd is smart, it’s very difficult to remain heel and have heat. Fans know you are just being a great heel so if you have great matches they generally end up cheering you. Edge, Jericho, and for now at least Randy Orton are the few people who have managed to be great and still get heat.

Q: In terms of developing new characters, do you think WWE would be better off letting more wrestlers come in under previously established gimmicks/characters? I know they really don't like to do this, but you only need to look at guys like Rob Van Dam and CM Punk to see that it's possible for wrestlers to get over without having to be "rebranded". I know this isn't an option for everyone, but I agree that when wrestlers are forced to go out and be something they're really not, it just doesn't work out. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

A: Yes I think letting people keep the gimmicks they initially develop or get over with would really help. This doesn’t even have to be a copy right and ownership issue as often guys get over with gimmick developed in Developmental which would still be WWE owned, but for some reason they are often still changed. This was a common occurrence in OVW, Jim Cornette would help these guys establish great characters and get them over while they were under contract to WWE yet they would get brought up with a different gimmick and have to find themselves all over again. Guys need to be allowed to find themselves and figure out what works for them, get used to it, and then do it on RAW, SD, or ECW.

Q: What do you miss the most about working in the Knoxville, TN area? It's my neck of the woods and I'm curious how this area is perceived by guys who used to wrestle here.

A: I loved the weather. To me Knoxville had perfect weather. It got just cold enough in the winter to make you appreciate the heat in the summer, yet the winter so short and so mild that it was not a hardship at all. Knoxville is a beautiful part of the Country. The Smokey Mountains were awesome too.

Q: Do you think that Brian Kendrick would be a good asset for the new Hart Foundation? If it ever happens.

A: NO. He has no ties to Calgary or the Hart Family. Adding him to the group would really hurt the group. It would be like adding a bunch of American’s to a Team Canada faction. Oh wait WCW already did that.

Q: I've always been curious what a typical WWE locker room looks like. Would it be like a typical sports locker room?

A: We generally used the locker rooms in the arenas we were working in. It’s not like WWE builds us new ones in each arena. The locker rooms you see in the back stage segments are the ones we are using.

Q: I was wondering what you thought of matches ending with the heel intentionally getting himself disqualified by slapping the referee, like Orton did tonight at Judgment Day? Also, what are your thoughts on Flair returning to the ring?

A: I think finishes like the Intentional DQ worked better during the Kayfabe era because then the wrestler got the heat for the cheap finish. Now fans know there are bookers/writers that book the finishes, so the company gets the heat for a crap finish not the heel. I like seeing Ric back but I don’t ant to se him wrestle. His retirement was the best thing I’ve ever seen in the business and wrestling again will ruin that. I also had to laugh at the absurdity of Flair’s big return being a promo where he scolded Randy Orton for getting DQ’d to keep his title, and said because of that he couldn’t call himself The Man. Does no one, Ric Flair included, remember HIS ENTIRE CAREER?

Q: WWE is coming back to Calgary in August for Monday Night Raw. When WWE comes to Calgary, do you ever get contacted by anyone with the company, or do you ever go to the events?

A: This will be their first time back since I left the company, and yes I’ve spoke to the office about the show, and will likely be going to it. I’m going to be in Ontario on vacation at the time, but I’m hoping to fly back to see everyone at the show.

Q: Got any Meng and/or Finlay stories? I've heard they were two of the toughest men in the business.

A: They were or rather likely still are two of the toughest guys in the business, but as is more often the case those who are legitimately tough don’t go out of their way to try to prove it. Both were (are) great guys and were two of the nicest and easiest going guys in the world. They were (are) a pleasure to work with in the ring. One brief Finlay story; there was a Smack Down taping back several years ago, when Fit was still just an agent. This was when Kurt Angle was Feuding with Chris Benoit. There was a pull apart to end the show where agents had to hit the ring to break it up as the show went off the air. Fit was one of the guys breaking up the brawl. As a rib Kurt and Chris decided they would jump Fit and tear his shirt off him as soon as the cameras were off. As soon as the cameras stopped they both grabbed Fit. In the blink of an eye Fit immediately picked Kurt’s ankle, drove his shoulder into his knee and took Kurt Angle down. This left Benoit standing there trying his damndest to pull Fit off of Angle by the leather belt Fit was wearing. Eventually Chris pulled hard enough that Angle managed to slip out of the ring. This was not a real fight, the guys were just screwing around, but think about the fact that Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit planed to jump Fit from behind and tear his shirt off and not only did they fail in doing so, ended up on the losing end of the deal.

Q: Being a fan of wrestling, it's interesting to see all the different types of matches that there are and one of my favorite match types to watch are battle royals or Royal Rumbles. My question is, what is or was your favorite type of specialty or gimmick match to compete in?

A: I did a ton of Iron Man matches in Europe (a lot of which were with Fit Finlay) and those would likely be my favourite. To me the best part of the match is the finish, and coming up with great near falls, and in Iron Man matches you get to do a bunch of those.

Q: Jericho mentioned in his book that he was constantly trying to compete with you in terms of ability and skill. Did you feel like you were competing with him at all or that there was some form of rivalry there?

A: I didn’t feel like I was competing no. I think I figured I was slightly ahead of him on the athletic front but knew I was behind him on the personality front. To me it pretty much balanced out.

Q: I am currently reading Flair's book and he mentions that even though he respects Randy Savage's ability to perform in the ring, he does not consider him a good worker because Savage could not go out and do things "on the fly" in ring and everything had to be worked out in advance. What are your thoughts on that?

A: I think it’s sad when guys do this, but Workers always seem to have to be Workers. I think little shots like this are just a lame attempt to elevate your self at the expense of others. Bret did it in his book, putting down Flair; Flair took shots at Savage, Foley and others in his. Everyone always compares Savage – Steamboat to Flair – Steamboat so I think this was just an attempt to say, I was better, which to me just comes off bad. Maybe Savage could go on the fly maybe he just preferred to lay stuff out, either way the guy had amazing matches all the time, Savage was GREAT, so was Flair. Not everything has to be a pissing contest.

Q: What's your take on the Bret Hart statement that- "I was as honest as I was because I was in a position to be. That was also a big difference than say Chris Jericho's book. I did enjoy Jericho's book to a certain degree, but there is a lot of sanitizing to sort of make the company look good and protect themselves. I think the company sort of handcuffs whether they can say this or say that. I didn't have that kind of restraint."

A: I think this is the same as the above situation. Both Bret and Jericho’s book came out the same time and I think this was just a cheap shot to say, “My book was better.” I have a world of respect for Bret, but workers are workers and they always need to find a way to say I’m #1. Truth is Jericho’s book wasn’t done through WWE so his was not sanitized by the company; not to mention the fact that Jericho’s book didn’t cover his WWE career. Bret was one of the all time best and his book is an excellent read, this stab at Jericho’s book was needless.

Q: Maybe it's my imagination, but I feel like more champs carry their belt than wear it these days. Is there any reason that might be the case or is it just one of those things?

A: For one the ECW belt is so absurdly big I doubt anyone but Mark Henry can wear it. The WWE title doesn’t fit well in my opinion because it was designed with a flat face plate so the stupid thing could SPIN. There is also the issue that when guys are doing promos they tend to use close shots so if the belt is on their shoulder it’s in the camera shot, if they wearing it it would not.

Q: I was curious if you'd read Jim Cornette's commentary about hardcore wrestling and if you generally agreed or disagreed with him.

A: For the most part I agree with it but I do take slight exception to his coverage of ECW. I think ECW deserved the same disclaimer Mick Foley got, in that many people say Foley was just a stunt guy, but Cornette pointed out that in addition to all the crazy bumps Cactus was a great promo and had good psychology. There was a lot more to ECW than what Jimmy presented, and very few off us worked stiff and killed each other with weapons. There was so much more to ECW and a lot of the Weapons matches were at the end of a lengthy heated feud. Dreamer and I did one of those Weapons matches on PPV and it was built to and had purpose. With that exception I would say I agree, for the most part with the over all commentary.

Q: What are the advantages of the old territory system vs the current crop of independent leagues?

A: The problem is that a lot of the Independent Indy shows now are not run by veterans of the business, so while they provide places for people to work, are often a detriment to the over all quality of the business. Shows are not run professionally, and guys who should not be on shows, or just do hardcore or high spots get on the show which can kill the business in that area over time. Because of this young wrestlers don’t progress and learn from veterans of the business so they quality of the business gets lost. Even with the well run Indy groups they don’t run a full time territory and seldom have TV so guys can’t work consistently and develop the consistent character and promo skills needed to become a true main eventer. With territories you could start out small and work with the guys Main Eventing that territory and learn. You could then move on to other territories and move up and learn further. Imagine MLB if they could only pull players from little league because there were no minor leagues or Triple A Ball Clubs.

Q: Out of curiosity, are a majority of the SWA students Canadian or do you get a lot of American trainees as well? Have you had anyone come in from other countries?

A: If you go to the SWA Photo Gallery and check out the class photos you will see that the majority of my students are from over seas. I’ve had students from I think 9 different Countries so far. I get more Canadians than Americans, but those two together may be less than half of the total.

Q: When you were still in the WWE and someone asked what you did for a living, did you refer to yourself as a "professional wrestler" or a "WWE superstar?"

A: I would always answer that question, “I Wrestle Professionally” I’m not sure what difference it made but saying I was a “Pro-Wrestler” sounded dumb to me.

Q: Have you had any formal martial arts training? If so had MMA been more popular when you were growing up would you have gravitated more towards that instead of Wrestling?

A: I’ve had zero formal MA training, nor have I any formal amateur wrestling training. I honestly don’t know if I would have looked into MMA or not. Fighting was never a real interest of mine so I doubt it, but who knows maybe MMA would have peaked that interest in me had I been exposed to it young enough.

Q: Back when you were in ECW was it always creative's plan for Justin Credible to throw down the tag titles and get a world title run or was that predicated on your departure from the company? Also if that was always part of the plan would you and Justin have feuded for the title culminating in a Lance Storm championship reign?

A: I almost laughed out loud at, “creative’s plan”. Creative in ECW was Paul Heyman, he was our booker and everything went through him. This was a real interesting time in that I didn’t know any of this was going to happen until it was happening. Paul told me nothing about all of this. Paul didn’t know whether I was leaving or not, so I think this was his plan to hedge his bets. With Justin throwing down the titles it got the title off of me (if I was leaving) without beating me (if I was staying). It also set Justin up as the top Impact Player in that he got heat for throwing down the titles, and the push of winning the World Title. This also created a great potential feud with Justin and I, which could be blown off in one match if I were leaving (what ended up the case) or be carried out long term if I stayed. I doubt Paul had more planned than that. Paul was a great booker in that respect in that he would create a situation that provided him with a lot of options and then sat back and saw where the card fell from there, and take things where they needed to go. Lance